Diarrheal disease is one of the leading causes of mortality and morbidity in developing countries. Probiotics, recognized as living microorganisms, are known to balance human intestinal flora. Many studies have shown that probiotics can be used as an alternative treatment to acute diarrhea. This study was designed to evaluate the effects of fungal and bacterial probiotics on acute pediatric diarrhea.
This clinical trial was conducted on 90 children aged 2 to 5 years, who were referred to the Kashan Children's Hospital, Iran, in 2015 for complaints of acute watery diarrhea and were treated on an outpatient basis. These children were randomly divided into three groups of 30. The first group received a standard daily treatment with ORS plus bacterial probiotics as a Kidilact® sachet containing 7 strains of Lactobacillus strains; the second group received ORS and fungal probiotics containing Saccharomyces boulardii as Ardeypharm Yomogi® capsule, 250 mg once a day and the third group used placebo along with standard oral rehydration therapy. The duration of treatment with probiotics or placebo was 5 days.
The current study showed no significant differences in age, gender, frequency and duration of diarrhea between the three groups before admission. The mean duration of diarrhea from onset of treatment to recovery was 2.80 days in the first group (bacterial probiotics), 3.17 days in the second group (fungal probiotics), and 4.43 days in the third group (placebo). A significant difference was observed in the duration of diarrhea after treatment between the three groups (P ≤ 0.05), so that the best effect was found in reducing the duration of diarrhea in the bacterial probiotic group, and the lowest effect was associated with the placebo group.
The use of probiotics in acute diarrhea in children could be effective in shortening the duration of diarrhea; however, the results of this study indicate that bacterial probiotics may seems to be superior to fungi but statistically does not have significant differences.